And now, members on the third major Japanese island — Hokkaido, to the north, are thrilled that President Thomas S. Monson announced in October general conference that a temple will be built in Sapporo, about 500 miles north of Tokyo.
There are three Mormon Church stakes on Hokkaido, two in Sapporo, a city raised to prominence when it hosted the 1972 Winter Olympics. There is also one district under the Japan Sapporo Mission.
Gratitude was the word Sapporo West Stake President Hiroyuki Domon used to describe his feelings when he heard about a new temple in his city. He said in an e-mail to the Church News, "When I received an e-mail from my friend in the United States at night informing that the temple was to be built in Sapporo, my heart was filled with gratitude to the Lord. As soon as I heard this announcement, I knelt down and offered my prayer of thanksgiving. Tears streamed down my cheeks and I felt the Lord so closely. My heart was literally burning like a fire. There are no words to express my joyous feelings.
"In the Sapporo west stake, we started to have one vision five years ago. 'Let us build a temple in this northern island. ... It is our dream, it is our mission.' ... Many brothers and sisters showed their faith and visited the temple far away. I believe that God has watched their faith. ...